A week of rest, coffee bars, blogging, and hanging out at the cyclists hostel. Situated in the Bohemian quarter of the city we have our pick of the many bars, cafes and restaurants. I find little in the way of random live music, and so my picture of Serbain music will remain as Crazy Trumpet Mayhem.
A few afternoon's are spent at Belgrade Lake. 3km of water with beaches all the way round, surrounded by parkland and a colossal array of sports fields/courts. It's a top place to take a swim, sit in a shaded cafe drinking cool Jelen, or simply enjoy the views : ). The place is busy every day, I wonder if anyone here works!! At one end of the lake is a cable drawn wakeboard circuit, I'd love to have a go, but even with the free accommodation I feel my budget taking a bashing.
Mornings are rarely an early event. Dan and Claire also sleep on the balcony to escape the heat, I usually wake to Dan stepping over me (not a pretty sight) and then returning with a loose leaf jasmine tea, not bad service eh? Once up we take a communal gander through the market, conveniently situated over the road, stocked with fruit and pastries return to the flat.
Our days are a blur of blogging, lounging and sight seeing.
Evenings are again spent in cafes or bars. When Mihailo isn't with friends he takes us sight seeing, the fortress is a pretty place to wander through at night. We see the buildings that the NATO bombs hit, interestingly they have not been knocked down/hidden, perhaps left as I silent reminder? I don't know...
Arno has brought with him a mini aluminum flute, after a game of "find the key" we jam away the night, Sarah on percussion with my cooking pots and "shaky love egg" as it's become known. We use Dan's laptop for lyrics we actually manage to complete some songs!!
After saying goodbye to Mariusz and Sarah we crack on with a 4-way bicycle service orgy - sweet!
Thursday see's more rooms become available at the "cycle hostel" Dan and Claire leave in the morning and Arno in the evening. Back on my todd, it feels quite strange after being with so many people, but the time had to come eventually. I've forgotten what it's like to ride alone, to have no-one to talk to or reflect with at the end of the day. It almost feels like I'm starting over and I sense the old apprehension creeping back.
Arno's final destination is Japan, and route is, in part similar to my own. We have made a loose agreement to meet up again at some point. I joked that: perhaps whilst cycling at night through the moonscape of Iranian salt deserts I will catch his flute on the wind and know I'm headed the right way. And so we are going to attempt to meet up for a desert jam by firelight.
I don't know if it's the same for all forms of travel, but moving forward everyday has a strange effect, in that as soon as you stop moving, once physically recovered you feel compelled to maintain the gathered inertia. I find no logical reason for this, I even ponder if it could get in the way of good experiences that only expose themselves with a stay of longer duration. After 3 days of spending most of my time in cybercafes doing some much needed catch up, the soles of my feet are screaming to feel my pedals beneath them once more.
And so onwards, to Bulgaria....
Farewell and thanks to Mihailo and friends (Miljan, Ana, Toma,Joca ,Miki ,Teo and many more)